Spreading The Numismatic Word
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43 posts in this topic

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"Schools were wrecked by the federal government and all the money is being funneled to the wealthy."

 

All public schools are operated by localities and cities/states. These decide how much to spend and how to allocate local revenue and other funds that might be available. Some states have very strong public education standards - as anyone who has taken the NY State Regents exam can attest. Others, especially in the south, don't seem to care about public education and have extensive parallel private schools established after segregated public schools were prohibited. In these places, a very wide disparity exists whenever objective measurements are made of educational achievement.

 

The "No Child Left Behind" act from Pres. Bush and Congress (2001) clearly identified discrepancies in educational standards, but then provided no effective remedy or set of alternatives except state take-over. It also punished educators from low performing districts when unrealistic goals were imposed absent the means to improve. Additionally, it lumped mentally deficient children with the general population which depressed the average scores in poor public school systems where the proportion of special needs children was higher than in private academies.

 

The result for future coin collecting is that we are not using the capabilities and genius of a large proportion of the population to generate beneficial economic activity and a knowledgeable citizenry. This automatically restricts coin collecting and many other history-related activities to those with the education and funds to participate.

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"I never said my claim did prevent anyone from collecting."

 

The quote below sounds like you were saying that, to me.

 

 

"What I described which should be completely obvious and self-evident is one of the biggest obstacles to any efforts to increase the collector base among most Americans who increasingly cannot afford it."

 

 

 

You are starting to dance and I have two left feet, so I am going to bow out and watch from the sidelines.

 

You are right, it does sound like that, but it was not what I intended. I was making a generic statement.

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Buying in the lowest grades is an option but I still don't see why anyone here expects most of the collector base (never mind non-collectors) to have an interest in them when hardly anyone here or on PCGS does now.

 

If you're right that US coins are too expensive then collecting lower grades is certainly a way to still collect the coins people like. There's nothing wrong with an 1822 dime that did exactly what it was intended to do and circulate extensively. Such a coin can be quite attractive to those who can appreciate a well worn yet undamaged gem. Many coins are culls by the time they reach AG so the number of 1822 dimes in this condition can't be very high.

 

Of course if these coins were a great deal less expensive then more people could collect them in AU/ Unc. If they remain expensive or increase it will just push the demand down to lower grades.

 

I understand your point, I know it is a common if not the consensus opinion and that the price level is the result of demand.

 

Your example of the 1822 dime is a coin which I consider to have an outsized value given its relative numismatic merits. Sure, its the "key" date of the series but there are possibly hundreds of other coins like it in the US series which are nowhere near as significant as their market price implies selling for exorbitant prices as well.

 

The same applies to all of the early entire series, except in very low grades even though most of these coins are hardly rare or even scarce, Many of these coins are still out of reach to most collectors. In a prior thread, I gave an example of an 1803 large cent I graded VG which my step grandmother gave me in 1975. The 1977 Redbook listed it at $10. The last time I checked, recent sales were between $100 and $300, depending upon variety. Worth collecting? Yes, but this is an ordinary coin yet still is either expensive (I consider the price absurd) or unaffordable to a large percentage of the collector base.

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The result for future coin collecting is that we are not using the capabilities and genius of a large proportion of the population to generate beneficial economic activity and a knowledgeable citizenry. This automatically restricts coin collecting and many other history-related activities to those with the education and funds to participate.

 

It is going to take a lot more than fixing the educational system to offset the economic trends I was attempting to describe.

 

Even assuming the proposals I have read elsewhere were implemented and worked, I don't believe it will remotely change the outcome. Providing "quality" formal schooling (aka, "education") doesn't mean there will be enough better or higher paying jobs for these high school or university graduates because it won't change automation, offshoring and the reality of wage competition in a global (as opposed to previously a mostly domestic) labor pool. This is aside from the fact that many higher paying jobs actually generate NEGATIVE economic value at worst or are mostly waste at best.

 

Additionally, since I have seen little evidence on this forum or reading PCGS that most contributors have any real interest in history anyway, I see little if any correlation. This is independent of the fact that the correlation between coinage and history is mostly if not entirely imaginary. Other than coins were struck in the past, by a lopsided proportion, there is no connection to the events most (educated) people know, both today and in the past. Collectors apparently prefer to believe otherwise but it is dubious that hardly anyone even knew of this supposed connection when the events occurred, never mind subsequently.

 

Offhand, I can think of a few coins with a meaningful historical connection. This includes the Jewish Revolt coinage of 66-70 CE, 1902 South Africa veld pond and 1839 "Una and the lion" UK coronation five sovereign. Most history related to numismatics doesn't seem to extend outside of it. It is or may be significant to numismatists but except in isolation, I don't see to hardly anyone else. This isn't really any different than my interest in the Anglo-Boer War or British Imperialism in the late 19th and early 20th century which doesn't have anything to do with my collecting either.

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"It is going to take a lot more than fixing the educational system to offset the economic trends I was attempting to describe."

 

Yep!

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I agree that a type set is a great way to go to collect the older issues. Can I afford a complete set of 19th century double eagles? In my dreams. Can I afford one of each type. Absolutely. I don't think knowing that I could never complete an expensive set ruins my want to start it.

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"It is going to take a lot more than fixing the educational system to offset the economic trends I was attempting to describe."

 

Yep!

 

 

 

I suspect that the intellectual division in this country plays as big a part as any other factor - if not the biggest. To recognize the confidence game being perpetrated on the America populous, a strong and competent school system and ready access to higher education would go a long way toward this end.

 

While better education may not be the only solution, it is certainly a necessary part of the solution. It will take a lot of people demanding change to turn things around in this country and that is unlikely to happen until that intellectual division I mentioned above is substantially weakened.

 

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Most people's definition of turning things around implicitly includes escaping the consequences of previous bad economic and personal decisions. Given the extent and duration of these awful prior choices, the only possible outcome is a future massive economic depression or an extended period of economic stagnation with (much) lower living standards.

 

The kind of change that people are likely to demand won't result in the outcome I infer from your post. It will only make economic conditions worse. Specifically with higher education, the problem doesn't include the lack of ready access because there are:

 

1) Already far too many students enrolled in post secondary institutions who have no business being in one. The idea that most people are intellectually qualified except in a system where standards are watered down to where a degree is meaningless is unsubstantiated.

 

2) There are far too many post secondary institutions who have no business granting diplomas and the only reason they are able to do so is because of loan guarantees.

 

3) The primary reason why post secondary education is unaffordable is because of loan guarantees. For anyone who disagrees, perhaps they can explain how any "industry" can collectively and permanently charge above their "customers" capacity to pay? This doesn't exist elsewhere except in housing and medical care which are equally distorted.

 

4) There isn't necessarily an equivalence between what makes sense for an individual and what exists in the economy collectively. While it may still make sense for most people to pursue a post secondary diploma as an individual, this doesn't mean that the economy can, will or should produce (anywhere near) enough job slots for these graduates.

 

5) From anecdotal accounts, I suspect that the "signaling value" of a diploma is losing its luster. I don't know this for a fact but consider it likely that college graduates are increasingly less prepared to provide sufficient value to their employers for what they are being paid. If this is true, increasing access will waste more resources and I certainly don't have any confidence in government or most (supposed) institutions of higher learning to adapt either.

 

My response didn't cover the elementary and high school system but I am not going to get into that here. In the aggregate, I consider it an even bigger disaster and don't believe there is any prospect for improvement.

 

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It will not happen overnight and it certainly will not be easy. The dumbing down of the America populous has been going on for many decades, and any possible reversal of the situation will take time.

 

This could not be more obvious.

 

It is equally obvious that if anything is going to turn things around - it has to have a beginning.

 

If you are only worried about the future of numismatics where it concerns yourself, you are wasting your time and efforts. It will get much worse before it can get better, and it is unlikely to get better in our life time.

 

 

 

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My comments were generic to the education system, not coins.

 

In the coin realm, I don't believe there is causation between someone's education level and their interest in coinage and numismatics. Presumably, those who are more educated are more likely to be coin collectors but the level of interest in the United States seems to be higher than elsewhere with higher levels of educational achievement. I attribute this to culture, not education. I agree there is some correlation but little if any causation.

 

Earlier, RWB commented on the relation between an interest in history and coins. I first became a coin collector at age 10. At age 13, my mother used to drop me off at the public library while she ran her errands and I read the history of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome.

 

Today, I am still interested in both though I don't read as much as I did. However, my interest in the two does not overlap and I suspect this is equally true for most, though I don't believe most collectors have much interest in history at all.

 

I read the occasional comment here and on PGCS and presume most who have an interest in history don't comment on historical subjects just as I don't. At the same time, I suspect that Bill Jones' experience is the norm where he has previously described giving presentations at coin club meetings and hardly anyone shows up.

 

Since I see limited correlation with either educational attainment or history, I don't believe the hobby is at future risk from it. If it becomes less popular than it is today, it will primarily be due to changing cultural attitudes in how people want to spend their time and money.

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Your constant shifting on your positions does not interest me. You are somewhat generic in and of yourself. I said what I wanted to convey, and your post was simply a springboard to achieve that end. Coins were only a very minor part of what I was relating.

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I wasn't shifting positions. My prior two posts were on two different aspects of this subject. Its apparent I either disagree or do not fully agree with your position which is an entirely different consideration.

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" Every single post I have read (literally), either here or on PCGS, ignores the lack of affordability in the price level. But by some miracle, others (whether collector or not) are supposed to be interested in coins that few or none on either forum will ever buy or want."

 

Yep. This is a direct impediment to hobby growth. The cult of TPGs and the huge markups in the cost of commonplace coins has also damaged future expansion.

 

I grew up poor but with big dreams of owning a world class collection, it's what a boy does. I had a blue collar job all of my life but still kept my dream alive. I never thought I would achieve anything close to my dream collection, afterall it was just a dream, but I managed to grow the collection with lots of research and by not passing on the best opportunities. We should strive for greatness even when we don't think we can get there. If I hadn't tried, I would never have been able to afford the rarities in my collection today. Set a high goal in the hobby and you'll be surprised in a few decades how close you get to it, IF you don't surpass your original goals. Remember- everything is within reach, you just have to keep trying and working at it. Happy collecting to all, keep your chins up!

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